Tag Archives: Coup

The ‘Soft Coup’ and the Attack on the Brazilian People

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/06/22/the-soft-coup-and-the-attack-on-the-brazilian-people/

In 2016, when former President of Brazil Dilma Rousseff was removed from office, I asked my dad- a New Yorker who religiously reads the morning paper- what he thought about the political situation in Brazil. He had read a New York Times article about the alleged corruption scandal, about the mismanagement of money and how the greedy Workers’ Party had been stealing money from the Brazilian people. Sitting here in the US, this is the image of current Brazilian politics: greed, corruption, mismanagement, and embezzlement of funds. You hear of a leftist administration incapable of governing its people, of the poverty-stricken masses in need of salvation. That is, if you hear anything at all. According to this narrative, the new administration (the Brazilian Democratic Movement or MDB) took over to save the day and save the Brazilian people from government corruption. When Dilma was impeached on August 31, 2016, Temer- then Vice President- took over the Presidency.

Less than two years later, however, Michel Temer of the MDB holds the presidency with just a 5% approval rating. This makes Temer the least popular president in Brazilian history. Since his appointment, Temer has also been accused of corruption scandals, the alleged reason for which former president Rousseff was impeached, and the very reason that he assumed office. Every measure of social wellbeing has plummeted as Temer’s administration has passed sweeping austerity measures and cut funding the social programs implemented by the Workers’ Party that are credited with making Brazil a main power on the global stage, increasing social inclusion in higher education, growing the middle class, and decreasing hunger and homelessness (more on this later). Despite his abysmal approval rating, mass protests, public criticism, and a tanking economy, Temer is still in office. And now, the main leftist candidate, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (also known as Lula), who has consistently led in the polls by wide margins, is in prison serving a 12-year sentence for a legal proceeding that has yet to be concluded.

When we think of coups, most of us imagine an image of the past or, at the very least, a clear and undeniable use of force. Large guns. Military intervention. Blood. The brutal overthrow of an elected government. (Think: Chile in 1973, Honduras in 2009, Argentina in 1976). What has been deemed a ‘soft coup’ in Brazil in 2016 stems from the same motive—the protection of corporate, foreign, and imperialist interests over the interests of the poor and working people and their right to self-determination—but comes wrapped in more palatable packaging that makes it easier to deny the violation of democracy. As Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research discusses in their recent dossier “Lula: The Battle for Democracy in Brazil,” the foreign and national elite used a series of legally sanctioned measures to remove the Workers’ Party from office under the guise of corruption. Though the legal case against former president and current Presidential candidate Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and former President Dilma Rousseff is full of holes (a lack of evidence, unreliable and changing quid-pro-quo testimonies given in exchange for lighter sentences, illegal wiretapping, etc), it allowed the bourgeoise- operating through the Brazilian courts- a means to sentence Lula to prison and remove Dilma from power. Quoting law professor Carlos Lodi, Tricontinental defines lawfare as the ‘process of using the law to produce political results. Opponents are removed by use of the legal system rather than the constitutionally valid electoral process’. This is a major strategy behind Brazil’s ‘soft coup’ and the assault on Brazilian democracy.

During the ongoing legal battle, media giant Globo consistently and frequently produced news stories that validated the unproven corruption allegations against the Workers’ Party and presented a slanted perspective that set the stage for and legitimized the coup. According to scholar Teun A van Dijk, 45 of the 60 main front page headlines in Globo from March and April 2016- the months leading up to Dilma’s impeachment- were about Lula, Dilma, the PT, impeachment, or Dilma’s government. The slandering of the Workers’ Party, despite their vast social advances and the lack of evidence behind the legal claims, is reminiscent of other notable moments in Latin American history. Leading up to the violent overthrow of socialist Chilean president Salvador Allende in 1973, the CIA and other forces colluded to cause economic destabilization and chip away at Allende’s popularity in order to justify his removal from power and Chile’s realignment with the interests of foreign and domestic capital. Under these conditions, it was easier to oppress the masses and divert the social progress that Allende’s government had made. Forty-three years later in Brazil, the Brazilian and foreign bourgeoise- acting through media and legal channels- have sought to detract from the advances against hunger and poverty made by the Workers’ Party and use the alleged corruption scandals to regain power.

What does the right have to gain in arresting the country’s leading Presidential candidate, arguably one of the most popular historical figured in Brazilian history? What threat do Lula and the Workers’ Party represent to the Brazilian elite? The Workers’ Party dared to reclaim Brazil’s natural resources—mainly the pre-salt oil reserve—and invest it in the public good, rather than for the profit of the elite. During the thirteen years of the Workers’ Party administrations, from Lula’s election in 2002 to the ‘soft coup’ in 2016, the country experienced enormous gains in measures of social well-being. Under Lula, Brazil’s GDP increased by 20%, bringing the country from the 15th largest in 2002 to the 6th largest economy in the world by 2013. This gain was felt by Brazil’s poor and middle class and its most marginalized communities, with the per capita income increasing from $2,500 to $11,000 during the same period. Programs such as Bolsa Familia and Minha Casa, Minha Vida lifted 22 million people out of poverty, provided 2.6 million housing unit to 10 million low-income people, and halved the rate of extreme poverty. Not only did the number of public universities increase during this period (from 45 universities with 148 campuses in 2002 to 65 universities with 327 campuses in 2015), but scholarships and quotas also increased for marginalized black and indigenous communities, resulting in a 286% increase in afro-Brazilians attending institutes of higher education. The list goes on.

In a clear realignment away from a people’s agenda and towards the protection of capital interests and the status quo, since the coup in 2016 Temer’s administration has frozen investment in areas such as health and education for the next 20 years. As a result, unemployment rates, hunger, poverty, and infant mortality have already worsened, with infant mortality rates increasing for the first time in 13 years (for more on the impact of Temer’s austerity measures, read this study). In the words of Frente Brasil Popular in their Declaration to the Brazilian People,“They do not merely want to arrest Lula. They want to arrest the causes that he represents and defends: social inclusion and the promotion of the rights of the people, notably women, children, blacks, indigenous people, the LGBT population, people with special needs; the provision of living wages and the generation of jobs; support for small and medium-sized enterprises, family farming and agrarian reform; the defense of national sovereignty and the construction of a more equal and fairer country.”

Despite Lula’s popularity, his and his party’s undeniable success in improving social conditions in Brazil, and the oversights and legal breaches in the case against him, on April 5, 2018 Judge Sergio Moro denied a habeas corpus petition and demanded that Lula report to jail by 5pm the next day. Lula declared that he would turn himself in to jail to prove his innocence. Before turning himself in, Lula spoke to his supporters: “They don’t understand that there is no point in arresting me, because there are thousands and thousands of Lulas. There is no point in trying to end my ideas, they are already lingering in the air and you can’t arrest them…  They have to know that the death of a fighter cannot stop the revolution.”

To the Brazilian and foreign elite, impeaching Dilma and jailing Lula could represent a turn in the country’s investments (as we have seen with Temer’s subsequent austerity measures and labor reforms), an opening of Brazil’s resources to foreign investment and profits, and a realignment with a neoliberal agenda that places profits over people. The country has reacted with widespread protests, with Lula surrendering to Judge Moro’s prison mandate on the shoulders of thousands of Brazilian people. What will happen in the upcoming October election remains to be seen, with Lula still in prison and the people’s movements refusing the legitimize the soft coup, masked by questionable corruption allegations.

Celina Stien-della Croce is the Coordinator of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

Bob Fernandes Commentary – 18 June 2018

Bob Fernandes

On Friday, 4th March 2016. Lula is coerced to testify at the Federal Police. As he had not refused to testify, coercion without any sense.

Judge Moro said he had decided on the coercion to “avoid tumult”. At that time, there was a large pro-impeachment demonstration set for nine days later: March 13th.

There are no coincidences. There are tactics and strategy, politics and communication. The judiciary and the media feeding off each other. The co-action stirred up the news, people and the demonstration.

Only now, four years, three months and 227 coercitive arrests after the Supreme Court has decide: coercitive arrests are prohibited for questioning…

… There are no coincidences. Lula is in prison, and, albeit late, there is now the risk of affecting friends, colleagues.

There are no coincidences. Three days after that 13th of March Moro leaked a conversation between Dilma and Lula. Dilma was not under investigation. Therefore it was illegal.

And the recording went on for one hour more than the legal time limit set.

In the Supreme Court, Justices Teori Zavaski and Marco Aurelio Mello clearly defined that such actions were illegal.

But the Supreme Court did not act. Once again things had to be stirred up. There were huge repercussions from the leak and the conversations… and the Supreme Court impeded Lula from becoming a cabinet minister.

As a cabinet minister, Lula would have legal immunity, he would have been the political operator on the eve of the impeachment. Without Lula, o month later and Dilma was impeached in the lower house of Congress.

Eleven months afterwards, in a similar situation, the same Supreme Court would maintain Moreira Franco as minister.

Times of facility for some, and very hard for others. Times of labelling people to try and classify those who oppose the herds. Many have given up.

The law firm working for Lula had their telephone tapped. The operator confirmed the phone taps, according to Sergio Rodas on the site Consultor Juridico (Conjur).

The then rapporteur for Lava Jato, Teori Zavaski, reprehended Moro, Said Conjur. Moro alleged not knowing about the phone taps and “promised to destroy the recordings”.

They were not destroyed then. Only much later was this done.

Now, at the Brazilian Criminal Law Meeting, lawyer Valeska Teixeira Zanin Martins denounced:

… Moro made more than 400 recorded conversations of ours available… there are no precedents of such a violent attitude, such an anti-democratic one in democratic countries.

This was how the prosecutors and Police had access to the defence strategies…

There are no coincidences.

Watch the original in Portuguese here.

Moro, the Clean Hands Judge, going to s**t!

moro_detonador_vitort-740x555

By Emanuel Cancella

I am an admirer of the poet Gentileza and really believe that kindness (gentileza) generates  kindness, but not with Judge Moro, who has led to countless losses for our justice system, the economy and democracy. And that is not trifling.

Judge Sergio Moro, who became famous by taking up the standard in the fight against corruption, ever more wallowing in the mud. His accomplices, such the Federal Supreme Court, are starting to abandon “Moro-Mania”, timidly.

The Federal Supreme Court prohibited the ‘forceful arrests’ that Moro used and abused, including against ex-President Lula. On the eve of voting on this authoritarian rubbish of forceful arrest, the jurist Técio Lins e Silva gave a strong performance in the plenary session of the Court.

Técio spoke of the embarrassment of taking an innocent Brazilian by force, as happened in the military dictatorship, to make a statement as Moro did with Lula, and with the journalist, Eduardo Guimarães, amongst others. Watch the entire defence by Técio in the STF, denouncing ‘forceful arrests’ (6).

Técio spoke of families who hired him professionally seeking redress to face this authoritarian rubbish that Moro used against innocent people, exposing them to ridicule, to being taken from their homes by the police.

Lava Jato, led by Moro, is accused by the Clube de Engenharia, Fiseng, Aepet, FUP and FNP of destroying the national engineering and shipbuilding industry (2 to 5). Lava Jato, as the fight against corruption, alleging overbilling, cancelled various projects, amongst them the Ceara and Maranhão refinery and halted the Comperj project.

Look, if someone really wanted to fight corruption, rather than sinking the country and favouring the competition abroad, they would have to punish the management, even imprison them, but they would keep the projects going, because in the end the ones who paid for all this were the workers. That is why Lava Jato is responsible for most of the 13 million unemployed.

Furthermore, Moro, in charge of Lava Jato, was an accomplice of the PSDB party in Petrobras. In November 2016, I denounced the omission of Lava Jato formally to the Federal Prosecution Service (MPF) in relation to the criminal management of Fernando Henrique Cardoso and Pedro Parente at Petrobras, with no response to this day.  See the denunciation in full (7).

Besides the criminal support of the media, principally the Globo network, which gave an award to Moro, as well as an award from the Brazil-United States Chamber of Commerce. Perhaps it was payback, as Lava Jato, headed by Moro, was omissive too when the neoliberal PSDB party supporter and head of Petrobras, Pedro Parente, paid R$ 10 million to American shareholders, even without Petrobras having been found culpable (9,10).

On the ruling of Moro, the thieves at Petrobras are serving their time at home, in true leisure clubs, built with the money they stole, amongst others: the ex-director of Petrobras, Paulo Roberto Costa; Fernando Baiano, lobbyist for the PMDB; Sérgio Machado, ex-president of Transpetro, a subsidiary of Petrobras and the money-launderer Alberto Youssef. Astounding! Youssef is at home despite being convicted to 82 years and 8 months in prison (1).

To favour the thieves convicted in Lava Jato even further, Moro :

“Prohibited the use of evidence obtained in Operation Lava Jato against those who made plea bargains and companies that recognised the crimes and who came to collaborate with the prosecutors in the investigations, with the decision affecting the AGU (Federal Attorney-General), the CGU (Federal Comptroller-General), Cade (Administrative Economic Defence Council), the Central Bank, the Federal Revenue Service and the TCU (Federal Accounts Tribunal)” (12)

Moro, besides discrediting the justice system in our country, their practices are criticised even by Pope Francisco, who said in a sermon:

“Obscure conditions have been created to convict one person. The media start speaking badly about people, the people who run things; with slander and defamation of these people who have been stained. Then comes the Justice system, who convict them, and in the end, a coup is implemented” (Francisco)” (13).

To leave no doubt about the dissatisfaction with the justice system in Brazil and the imprisonment of Lula, the head of the Roman Catholic church also sent an emissary  to Brazil, the country with the most Catholics in the world, to visit Lula, but who was barred from doing so, can you guess by whom? By Judge Sergio Moro!

I close with a declaration by Técio Lins e Silva to the STF, remembering the lawyer Sobral Pinto (6). Remembering, even though he was a conservative, Sobral Pinto defended the communist Senator Luis Carlos Prestes, imprisoned by the military dictatorship. According to Técio, at a certain time in a session of the Superior Military Tribunal, Sobral Pinto said: “I will denounce them to the country!” The president of the Military Tribunal then ordered him to be arrested. So I close with a message from the great Sobral Pinto to lawyers: “The law is not a profession for cowards!”

Source:
1 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAzFEQYt0cA

2 – https://jornalggn.com.br/noticia/para-engenheiros-lava-jato-promovo-desmonte-da-industria-nacional

3 – https://jornalggn.com.br/noticia/documentario-mostra-como-a-lava-jato-destruiu-a-economia-em-poucos-meses

4 – https://jornalggn.com.br/noticia/para-engenheiros-lava-jato-promovo-desmonte-da-industria-nacional

5 – http://www.aepet.org.br/w3/index.php/artigos/noticias-em-destaque/item/919-lava-jato-e-desmonte-do-pre-sal-a-combinacao-que-levou-o-rio-a-falencia

6 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZWsBq4pvgo

7 – http://www.fnpetroleiros.org.br/noticias/3901/petroleiro-denuncia-a-operacao-lava-jato-ao-mpf-veja-na-integra-teor-da-denuncia-protocolada-ontem

8 – https://oglobo.globo.com/brasil/moro-ve-premio-como-reconhecimento-privado-anti-corrupcao-22686705

9 – https://www.brasil247.com/pt/247/artigos/174167/Moro-e-o-pr%C3%AAmio-da-Globo.htm

10 – http://www.redebrasilatual.com.br/politica/2018/02/parlamentares-vao-a-justica-contra-entrega-de-r-10-bi-por-presidente-da-petrobras

11 –  http://www.diariodepernambuco.com.br/app/noticia/politica/2016/07/10/interna_politica,654284/delatores-cumprem-prisao-domiciliar-em-mansoes-e-coberturas.shtml

12 –  https://www.brasil247.com/pt/247/parana247/358196/Moro-usa-lei-dos-EUA-para-blindar-delatores.htm

13 – – https://jornalggn.com.br/noticia/criam-se-condicoes-obscuras-para-condenar-a-pessoa-disse-o-papa

Rio de Janeiro, 15 June 2018.

Author: Emanuel Cancella, OAB/RJ 75.300, ex-president of Sindipetro-RJ, founder and ex- director of the Comando Nacional dos Petroleiros, of FUP and founder and coordinator of FNP, ex-national director of Dieese, and author of the book “A Outra Face de Sérgio Moro” which can be purchased at: http://emanuelcancella.blogspot.com.br/2017/07/a-outra-face-de-sergio-moro-pontos-de.html.

(Esse relato pode ser reproduzido livremente)
See the video of this post at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9KYD5iDVb4

Dilma declared innocent:

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DCM

Purchase of Pasadena refinery: declared innocent in TCU investigation.

Obstruction of Lava Jato: declared innocent in PF investigation.

Money abroad: declared innocent in MPF investigation.

Fiscal manoeuvres: declared innocent in MPF investigation.

Abuse of power: declared innocent in TSE investigation.

WHERE DID THE HATE COME FROM!!!

1) Dilma vetoed the readjustment of 40% to the salaries of the judiciary (irritating the Justice arm).

2) Dilma vetoed the employment Law reform and approval of outsourcing deregulation (irritating the business and Fiesp).

3) Dilma vetoed the private electoral campaign financing (irritating those benefiting from bribes).

4) Dilma gave free reign to the Federal Police and did not interfere in the investigations (irritating the corrupt Congressmen and Senators).

5) Dilma refused to negotiate with Cunha, Leader of Congress (irritating the 300 Congressmen he sustained).

6) Dilma did not accept the handing over of Brazilian oil to foreigners (irritating the USA).

7) Dilma did not accept the privatizing the little that was left of publicly held Brazilian assets (irritating the holders of economic power supported by the neoliberal right).

8 Dilma did not accept forgiving the R$ 2 billion debt for health plans with the government (irritating the powerful in the private health insurance sector).

9) Dilma did not accept forgiving the debt of football clubs with the government (irritating the Brazilian Football Confederation).

10) Dilma did not accept forgiving the millionaire debt of TV channels, especially Globo, with the government (irritating the media barons, especially the Marinho family).

11) Dilma decreed that state banks lower their interest rate below the Selic (irritating rentista and speculative capital)

Do you understand where the hate arose and resides?…”

Walter Gadelha

(public domain)

THOSE WHO WORE THE YELLOW SHIRT AT THE WRONG TIME WERE IRRITATED ABOUT WHAT EXACTLY?

Pro-impeachment demo
vermelho.org.br

Comentários a uma sentença: o Caso Lula

Do Rede Brasil Atual

A sentença proferida pelo juiz Sérgio Moro contra o ex-presidente Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva é tema do livro Comentários a uma sentença anunciada: o Processo Lula. Editado pela Frente Brasil de Juristas pela Democracia em defesa do Devido Processo Legal, o livro de 542 páginas, está disponível para download em português.

Comentarios-a-Uma-Sentenca-Anunciada

São 103 artigos escritos por 121 autores. Entre eles, Eugênio Aragão, Pedro Estevam Serrano, Wadih Damous, Celso Antônio Bandeira de Mello e Tarso Genro.

O documento jurídico é resultado de um movimento de juristas brasileiros que examinaram cuidadosamente a sentença proferida por Sérgio Moro no âmbito do processo que tramitou na 13ª Vara Federal de Curitiba, no caso que ficou conhecido como “tríplex do Guarujá”.

Os autores fazem um exame técnico da condenação, baseadas em meras convicções de um processo bastante problemático sob qualquer ângulo – e diagnosticam o uso da Justiça com objetivos políticos. Além de um criterioso exame da ciência penal, o livro é o que chamam de Carta Compromisso com a Cidadania, a Democracia e o Estado de Direito.

Da apresentação do livro:
Comentários a uma sentença: o Caso Lula” é talvez o mais importante documento jurídico publicado no Brasil em décadas. A presente coletânea de artigos nasceu de um movimento espontâneo e bastante significativo de juristas brasileiros que examinaram cuidadosamente a sentença proferida no âmbito do processo que tramitou na 13ª Vara Federal de Curitiba, no caso que ficou conhecido na mídia como o do “tríplex do Guarujá”.

Para além do caráter inédito da condenação criminal de um ex-Presidente da República em circunstâncias políticas em tese não comparáveis às das ditaduras brasileiras do século passado, a sentença, que em larga medida era aguardada como desfecho não surpreendente deste processo criminal, provocou imediata reação entre os que a leram comprometidos unicamente com o propósito de tentar entender os motivos pelos quais Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva está sendo punido pela prática dos crimes de corrupção passiva e lavagem de ativos de origem ilícita.

A certeza da condenação era fato. Admiradores e opositores do ex-presidente sabiam que não haveria outro veredito. A dúvida residia em conhecer as razões da condenação, exigência normativa da Constituição de 1988 que, pelas inevitáveis repercussões políticas do mencionado processo, mostraram o acerto do Constituinte de 1987-1988 ao elevar a fundamentação das decisões ao patamar de garantia constitucional do processo.

Apenas recentemente, depois de vinte anos de intensa batalha jurídica protagonizada por Fernando Fernandes, por coincidência advogado de Paulo Tarciso Okamoto, que neste caso do “tríplex do Guarujá” figura como réu ao lado do ex-presidente Lula, logrou-se cumprir decisão do Supremo Tribunal Federal, dando a conhecer os áudios dos julgamentos que o Superior Tribunal Militar (STM) realizou durante a ditadura de 1964-1985.

Os referidos julgamentos, tornados públicos agora, revelam as virtudes democráticas da publicidade do processo e da motivação das decisões. Frases do tipo “Eu vou tomar uma decisão revolucionária, deixando de lado a lei, porque pela lei não se pode condená-lo de maneira nenhuma”, ditas nos julgamentos, pelas mais altas autoridades judiciárias militares e civis, em um ambiente de segredo, hoje são conhecidas de todos os que se derem ao trabalho de ouvir os áudios daquelas sessões.

A motivação das decisões e a publicidade dos julgamentos são as armas pacíficas do Estado de Direito contra arbítrios e abusos, além de proporcionarem aos tribunais a oportunidade de uma maior qualidade e eficiência na tarefa de corrigir sentenças consideradas injustas, malgrado proferidas com apoio em sincera crença de que o direito foi aplicado ao caso concreto.
Ademais, o trabalho dos juízes, como expressão de atividade republicana regulada por um conjunto escrupuloso de regras jurídicas materiais e processuais, está sujeito a ser conhecido e avaliado não somente pelas partes destinatárias diretas da sentença. Cada pessoa, interessada na sorte de seu semelhante submetido a um processo criminal, dispõe de meios e recursos para promover uma verdadeira arqueologia das razões pelas quais alguém é condenado ou absolvido.

A publicidade do processo e a motivação das decisões funcionam como escudos contra aquele tipo de justificação acima referido, frequente à época no STM, próprio dos julgamentos políticos. Em casos no quais a condição de processo político não é encoberta pela forma criminal com que se apresentam, é por meio do escrutínio das razões do magistrado que a cidadania se sente protegida ou ameaçada.

Se os motivos de eventual condenação correspondem ao que prevê o corpus jurídico vigente e a lei penal está sendo aplicada em conformidade com o entendimento dominante acerca do conjunto de conceitos e noções produzidos pela chamada dogmática penal no Brasil, há de se presumir justificável a sentença e, assim, o seu acerto dependerá da correção do juízo do magistrado acerca da avaliação da prova, que deve ter sido produzida em um ambiente de rigorosa observância das regras do devido processo legal.

No entanto, se os conceitos e noções canônicos do direito penal brasileiro são afastados e, além disso, as garantias do devido processo são vulneradas, recorrendo o juiz a critérios de avaliação da prova e a outras práticas processuais no mínimo altamente discutíveis, o ordinário converte-se em exceção e os sinais de alerta, na defesa do Estado de Direito, imediatamente devem ser acionados.

Na hipótese há expressivo consenso de que o direito estrangeiro aparentemente substituiu o nosso, operando-se o fenômeno que Elisabetta Grande denomina de circulação simbólica de modelos jurídicos oriundos de diferentes âmbitos da cultura jurídica e de diferentes áreas do próprio direito.

O manejo dos conceitos e noções seguiu por essa trilha na condenação, reverberando convicções particulares e presunções formuladas em matéria penal em desconformidade com a análise de fatos apoiada em provas.

Embora se trate de simples apresentação do livro, não custa esclarecer o leitor acerca do significado, em termos de perigo para as liberdades individuais, de converter a exceção em regra, como em minha opinião fica claro na sentença tratar-se da opção do magistrado. Sobre o assunto sublinha Janaína Matida:
“A presunção judicial não é outra coisa senão o raciocínio sobre os fatos realizado pelo julgador; é o que se espera existir em sistemas jurídicos nos quais seja vigente a diretiva de livre e racional valoração, pois cabe ao juiz valorar as provas como informações suficientes (ou não) para a determinação da ocorrência dos fatos sob discussão. Sua qualidade está diretamente vinculada à generalização empírica por ele selecionada; logo se a generalização não é universal, ela, por definição suporta a possibilidade de exceções. Portanto, a construção do raciocínio deverá cuidar de demonstrar que o caso individual é regra e não exceção.”

O raciocínio condenatório que se apoia na exceção, recorre retoricamente a modelos jurídicos estrangeiros e traduz indevidamente conceitos penais – como salta aos olhos na condenação do ex-presidente por corrupção – fazendo letra morta da advertência da impossibilidade de transplantes do gênero, haveria de provocar vívida reação entre os estudiosos do direito.

O verdadeiro escrete de juristas, professoras e professores, advogados e intelectuais que seguiam de perto o processo, mobilizou-se ao constatar a excepcionalidade do estilo e dos argumentos empregados pelo juiz criminal na mencionada decisão.

Assim, o processo todo – e não somente a sentença – foi passado a limpo nos artigos que o leitor tem em mãos e que são de exclusiva responsabilidade de cada autor.

A centena de textos esmiúça o procedimento, esclarece que regras efetivamente estão em vigor e como incidem no caso concreto. Na opinião dos autores dos artigos estas regras não foram observadas e a sua não observância levou a que se proferisse uma decisão injusta.

Releva notar que em tempos de julgamento público e correspondente publicidade da motivação não há mais espaço para deixar de aplicar a lei para condenar.

Algo do gênero, portanto, subverte a lógica e seria dificilmente aceitável ainda mais neste período de instabilidade política e insegurança jurídica. Interrogar cada argumento, indagar de sua adequação aos procedimentos legais e à interpretação corrente configurou o método que autoras e autores utilizaram para verificar se e em que medida foi violado ou respeitado o devido processo legal.
A probabilidade de condenação do ex-presidente Lula e a sua confirmação são muito mais do que meras convicções de um processo bastante problemático sob qualquer ângulo.

O leitor tem consigo mais do que a obra de cento e vinte e um autores, retratada em cento e um artigos que submetem todos os aspectos da longa sentença ao criterioso exame que a ciência penal, o direito constitucional e outras áreas do saber consideram fundamentais para afirmar o Estado de Direito no Brasil.

“Comentários a uma sentença: o Caso Lula” é uma espécie de Carta Compromisso com a Cidadania, a Democracia e o Estado de Direito.

Confiar que os tribunais farão justiça a Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva é acreditar que a máxima dos julgamentos dos anos 70, no STM – “Eu vou tomar uma decisão revolucionária, deixando de lado a lei, porque pela lei não se pode condená-lo de maneira nenhuma” – está definitivamente sepultada entre nós. Se não há crimes, e crimes não há, a absolvição é a única decisão possível.

Lula and the Battle for Democracy in Brazil

Battle for democracy in BrazilA ‘soft coup’ is underway in Brazil. The United States has become increasingly emboldened in tightening their grip on protecting their interests in the region at the expense of democracy and the people’s sovereignty to choose their own governments. Accusations of corruption with no evidence and the imprisonment of the leading candidate, Lula of the Workers’ Party, have cast a somber cloud over the upcoming October elections. Through a variety of tactics, Brazil’s democracy is under siege.

Report of the Facts and Plots to Oust President Dilma Rousseff

This is the translated chapter of a book available online in Portuguese, “Brazil 2016 – Recession and Coup” published by the Perseu Abramo Foundation, reporting on some of the tricks and illegalities that were used to overthrow the then President, Dilma Rousseff.

My intention in publishing this article is to promote understanding of what is going on in Brazil now, by giving an explanation in part of how we got here. It shows that there was deliberate effort against the project for the country implemented by the Worker’s Party (PT) and how this relates to the imprisonment without evidence of Lula, the President of Brazil prior to this coup. This imprisonment has been done in order that he not be able to stand in the national elections again in October of this year, where he is clear favourite in the opinion polls, with more votes than all other contenders combined.

The full list of chapters is as follows:

Political Crisis of Alliances and the Construction of Public Opinion

Economic Impasses

Construction of Coup

The Programmatic Agreement

The International and Regional Picture

Report of the Facts and Plots to Oust President Dilma Rousseff

The Coup Against the State

The Anti-social Policy

The Economic Policy

The Coup d’État Against Regional Development

The Political Struggle After The Coup

Report of the Facts and Plots to Oust President Dilma Rousseff

On the 2nd of December 2015, the then President of the Congress in Brazil, Eduardo Cunha, of PMDB party for Rio de Janeiro, authorized the opening of the impeachment process of President Dilma Rousseff. The coup was thus for­mally begun, which was to be consummated on the 31st of August 2016, with the final voting in the Federal Senate, culminating in the definitive removal of the elected President. This chapter relates the succession of facts that led to that result, demonstrating the putschist offensive and the consequent overthrow of the democratically elected government.

FROM THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE IMPEACHMENT PROCESS THROUGH TO THE SETTING IN MOTION OF THE PROCESS IN THE CHAMBER

The month of December 2015 showed the outline of how the coup against President Dilma Rousseff would be. The leadership of Eduardo Cunha (PMDB) in this effort became evident, from the acceptance of the impeachment through the most diverse attempts at manoeuvres in favour of the process, demonstrating his activity as Presi­dent of the Lower House as determinant in weakening the Dilma government and for the consummation of the coup. The tone was set for the coup attempt by the PMDB and by Michel Temer, as well as the media, and the most diverse inter­ventions by the Supreme Federal Court (STF) in the process.

The President of the Lower House, who had already received various motions for impeachment from the opposition, himself had a process underway against him in the Council of Ethics for having lied in the Commission of Inquiry into Petrobras when he affirmed not to have accounts abroad1. Bargaining for his political survival, he blackmailed the Worker’s Party (PT) caucus within the Council, but they did not accept his proposal and declared their vote in favour of his disenfranchisement. On the same day, Cunha accepted the motion for impeachment filed by Janaina Paschoal, Miguel Reale Junior and Hélio Bicudo. The justification for this motion, a process which in accordance with the Federal Cons­titution requires proof that the person has committed the crime non-compliance, accused the President of the Republic of acting against the Law of Fiscal Responsibility and the attributions of the Execu­tive by delaying the passing of funds from the State banks and that these funds were used in the Budget without authorization from the National Congress, the charge merely being the excuse for the coup being plotted.

Less than one week afterwards, a letter was published from the then Vice-President Michel Temer to Dilma Rousseff breaking off their relationship. Temer, who months before had left the post of political articulator in the government, declared in his letter that he felt like a “decorative Vice-President”, affirming to the President that she “had no confidence in myself and the PMDB, now and will not have tomorrow”. The loyalty Temer attributed to himself and to the PMDB was not sustained by the facts, with the right to launch a plan for government through the foundation of the party, called the “Temer Plan”, the document “A Bridge to the Future” (Fundação Ulysses Guimarães, 2015). The party had been divided for some time around the support for Dilma Rousseff2, with intense pressure for more posts and ministries, always attended to by the government. Meanwhile, Temer intensified his talks with the putschist opposition. According to the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo, Temer had left the post of political articulator in the Dilma government in August 2015, to come closer to the opposition and the right-wing PSDB party and to guarantee support for a future government (O Estado de S. Paulo, 2015). Thus, it became clear that the Vice-President’s inten­tion was to conspire against the voting alliance he had been part of and against the programme on which it was elected.

The day after the letter was published, there was the first attempt at manoeuvring by Eduardo Cunha in favour of the impeachment, as well as the first interference by the Federal Supreme Court in the process: in articulation with the opposition, Cunha opened a gap for dis­sident Congressmen within his own party to form an alternative alliance in­dicated by the caucus leadership. This enabled a distortion, which meant that the Special Commission that would analyze the motion to be with a pro-coup majority, which did not reflect the composition of the House at that time, as the government still had a sufficient majority to block the process. In reaction to the manoeuvre, the Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB) filed a suit in the Supreme Court questio­ning the whole method of formation of the Commission, which included a secret vote, division of the commission into blocks and not into parties, as well as the absence of indication of leadership by the caucuses. The action was received by the Justice Edson Fachin, who suspended the impeachment process for definition of the whole set of rules and formalities that regulated the process. Thus, the composition of the commission as articulated by Cunha was annulled.

In less than ten days, the Supreme Federal Court defined what the procedure was to be adopted during the impeachment process of President Dilma Rousseff. Thus, the process in Congress was to be run according to the following rules: otherwise than as articulated by Cunha, the Impeachment Commission was to be chosen through the sole ballot sheet indicated by the party leaders, with open voting. After the setting up, Dilma would have ten sessions to defend herself, and the final report was to be voted on after five sessions, and afterwards by the plenary. If approved by the House, the Senate would decide on continuing the process or otherwise, removing the President in the former case. After the removal, a judgement would be begun by the Senators to define the definitive condemnation or absolution. Despite the formal definitions of the impeachment procedure, the Supreme Court did not judge the merits, i.e. the veracity of the facts about coup, providing a false air of legality to condemn a President who had not committed any crime of responsibility.

In the midst of such a huge impasse, with the Legislature going into recess, the government replaced the Minister of Finance, Joaquim Levy, for the then Minister of Planning, Nelson Barbosa, as a way of reverting the economic situation, damaged after the fiscal adjustment. Only in February 2016 was the impeachment to be given a new look after Congress appealed against the definition of the procedure in the full Supreme Court, adding further delays to the process. Thus, a breach was opened for further damage to the government, with its support base diminishing and the votes that would have guaranteed its survival migrating little by little to the opposition, with intense efforts by Temer and his allies negotiating posts and ministries in the composition of his future putschist government.

In the three months it took to define the procedure setting up the Commission in the House, the putschists spared no efforts to damage the legitimate government: the media ope­rations concerning the Operation Lava Jato were intensified with the clear purpose of attacking and sabotaging the Dilma government, the Worker’s Party and ex-President Lula, as will be explained further. With all the pyrotechnics at their disposal, the marketer João Santana and his wife were imprisoned, whilst the media published on magazine covers, in their headlines and prime time reports the contents of the illegal leaking of the plea bargain by ex-Senator Delcidio do Amaral, filled with unfounded accu­sations. In the midst of this huge attack by the putschists, large demonstrations were organized against the government and in favour of impeachment, which according to the opinion poll studies carried out by Perseu Abramo Foundation Public Opinion and Studies Nu­cleus, were far from representing the “people”, as people within their number and enthusiasts bragged. According to the studies, those present were mostly men (54%), white (70%) and upper-middle class (68% earned more than five times the minimum wage), a profile quite distinct from the Brazilian population (Perseu Abramo Foundation, 2016). Nevertheless, recordings were later published in a report on the UOL portal of one of the leaders of Movimento Brasil Livre (MBL) in which it was affirmed that the group obtained funding for these demonstrations from political parties such as DEM, PSDB and PMDB. At the time, the PMDB had not yet officially split from the Dilma government. According to the report:

“The movement also negotiated finan­cial assistance with the PSDB Youth for their logistics, such as payment of food and rental of buses, and was supported by DEM ‘party machinery’. […] The PMDB had paid for the printing of leaflets for the MBL to publicize the pro-impeachment demonstrations that took place on March 13th.” (UOL, 2016)

The joint action by the various putschist forces united around the overthrow of the democratically elected government was decisive in advancing the impeachment process, and this became evident during March 2016. Prior to the protests, on March 4th, the most media savvy opera­tion up to that point was carried out during the 24th phase of Lava Jato: ex-President Lula was coercitively arrested to make a statement at the Federal Police (PF), without him ever having refused to make a statement. Lula, who was one of the principal targets of the putschist front within the Judiciary and investigatory bodies, the Federal Police and Public Prosecutor Office, was confronted by many cameras and journalists already primed and waiting to record the occasion. The reaction from supporters, however, intensified the struggle in the social movement sectors against the coup, generating greater mobilization against the coup on March 18th. According to Datafolha, about 95,000 people gathered to defend democracy in São Paulo.

In the midst of such turbulence, after the Supreme Federal Court denied an appeal from Congress, the impeachment was allowed to proceed in Congress. With the aim of strengthening the political articulation of the government in relation to members of the Legislature, President Dilma announ­ced the nomination of ex-President Lula as her Cabinet Chief of Staff on March 16th. However, the putschist front immediately reacted in one of the most lamentable episodes in Brazilian republican history: Sergio Moro, the first instance judge responsible for Operation Lava Jato, published a recording of a telephone conversation between the President and Lula on the prime time Globo network national news, in which they were arranging the details of the swearing in of the ex-President as a new minister. The recordings were widely disseminated and the media dedicated to constructing the narrative that the aim of the nomination was to provide legal immunity to Lula, i.e. the right to be judged solely in the highest instances of the Judiciary. Immediately, putschist sectors of the right-wing took to the streets to protest against the nomination in an automatic and hardly spontaneous manner. With the argument that this was a distortion of its purpose, a federal judge suspended the swearing in of Lula as a Mi­nister, and this position was reinforced the next day by Supreme Court Justice Gilmar Men­des, who in a injunction ruled to accept the motion by the PSDB and PPS parties. Nevertheless, the recordings were of a conversation with the President and made without judicial authorization. Afterwards, Judge Moro apologized to the Federal Supreme Court for the publishing of the recording.

Such concern from Judge Sergio Moro in leaking facts to the media was not repeated a few days later. After the leaking of a spreadsheet from the engineering company Odebrecht, one of the leading ones investigated in Ope­ration Lava Jato, which contained many politicians benefiting from large amounts of money, including many names from the opposition and from the putschist front, when he decreed judicial secrecy so as not to generate “premature conclusions”.

In the same week, the Bar Association of Brazil (OAB) filed another motion for impeachment in the House, joining the group of entities calling for the coup, notably led by the National Confederation of Industry (CNI), the Federation of In­dustries of the State of São Paulo (Fiesp), the Federation of In­dustries of the State of Rio de Janeiro (Firjan), the National Confederation of Commerce of Goods, Services and Tourism (CNC), the National Confederation of Transport (CNT), the Agriculture and Stock Confederation of Brazil (CNA) Força Sindical, amongst others. One day after the position taken by the OAB, on the 23rd of March 2016, the PMDB announced their official breaking with the Dilma Rousseff government.

As a counterpart to the impeachment of Dilma, the pro­gressive wing filed two motions for impeachment against Michel Temer in April. After the recusal of Cunha in opening the process, the Federal Supreme Court intervened and Justice Marco Aurelio obliged the President of the Congress to set up the commission to analyze the impeachment of the then Vice-President. One of the motions was filed by Cid Gomes, of the PDT party. By the end of 2016 the process against Temer had gone nowhere. In the same week, the rapporteur of the impeachment process in the House Special Commission, Deputy Jovair Arantes of the Brazilian Worker’s Party of Goias (PTB-GO) gave his report in favour of impeachment process being heard.

In the same week, the then Federal Attorney-General, Jose Eduardo Cardozo, filed the defence, demonstrating that the process had been faulty from the start in being motivated by personal vengeance by the President of Congress, Eduardo Cunha. Cardozo also tried unsuccessfully to obtain a ruling against the impeachment in the Federal Supreme Court, which refused to interfere on the merits of the process. On the same day as the report was approved by the Commission by 38 votes to 27, a recording was published of the Vice-President Michel Temer talking as if the impeachment had already passed, causing embarrassment and demonstrating that that there never was any option, and that the coup was already taken as a given for some time. Little by little, the parties were leaving the support base of the Dilma government and were adding their voice for her impeachment, despite all the efforts to maintain a minimum of support that would guarantee the 172 votes against the coup. Temer and his allies, including Ministers and ex­-Ministers of Dilma, negotiated behind the scenes bargaining for posts and indi­cations to ensure the coup would pass with ease.

On April 17th 2016, in the longest session in the history of the Congress, Brazil watched a horror show on national TV, with the impeachment being approved by 367 votes to 137, and was then sent to the Federal Senate. Transmitted on the national TV networks, mobilizing those in favour and against the coup, lamentable scenes were shown, with votes in favour of the impeachment being justified by the most absurd reasons: Jair Bolsonaro, for example, then deputy of the Social Christian Party for Rio de Janeiro (PSC-RJ), dedicated his vote to Colonel Brilhante Ustra, a notorious torturer in the military dictatorship who had committed abuses against President Dilma Rousseff herself in the period when she was imprisoned and tortured by the regi­me. Innumerable deputies dedicated their vote to family members, to political friends and even to God. Deputy Raquel Muniz, of the Social Democratic Party for Minas Gerais (PSD-MG) dedicated her vote to her husband, Ruy Muniz, then Mayor of Mon­tes Claros, highlighting his supposed ethics and example of good management. The day after the voting, he was arrested and imprisoned by the Federal Police. Cases such as this demonstrated the absence of worth and the type of person who helped oust a democratically elected President.

In the middle of the voting on the impeachment, with the Dilma government’s base of support in ruins, a new coalition of parties was formed who remained completely faithful to the government in the voting, consisting of the Worker’s Party (PT), the Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB) and the Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL). Another party which supported the government in the voting was the Democratic Worker’s Party (PDT), with 63.2% of their votes against the impeachment.

Besides the opposition led by the Brazilian Social Democra­cy Party (PSDB), with 100% of votes in favour of the coup, various parties making up the allied opposition base supported the impeachment en masse: the Brazilian Republican Party (PRB), 100% of votes for impeachment; Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), 88.1%; Progressive Party (PP), 84.6%; Social Democratic Party (PSD), 78.4%; Brazilian Worker’s Party (PTB), 70%; Republican Social Order Party (PROS), 66.7%; Republic Party (PR), 65%. All these headed Ministries and actively took part in the government they helped overthrow. Such positions made up a new support base which would work for the future putschist government of Michel Temer.

THE IMPEACHMENT IN THE SENATE: REMOVAL, INTERIM GOVERNMENT AND CONSUMMATION OF THE COUP

After the voting on April 17th 2016, the impeachment proceeded to the Federal Senate, delivered by hand by the President of Congress, Eduardo Cunha, to the President of the Senate, Renan Calheiros, PMDB Senator for Alagoas. In accordance with the formal procedure, after having received it the Senate would have 48 hours for the parties to indicate their representatives to the Special Commission for Impeachment to draw up a report which, if favourable and if approved, would decide whether the legislature would open the process against Dilma Rousseff or not.

The Commission consisted of 21 Senators, and ten days after being set up would have to decide on the admissibility of the impeachment process, to be voted in plenary session, requiring only a simple majority (41 votes) of all the Senators. During these ten days, the sides for the prosecution and the defence would be respon­sible for trying to convince the Senators of their arguments. However, the process was clearly already defined before being set in motion, without the right to a full defence. The putschists were already disposed to overthrow Dilma at any cost, without hearing the defence and without abiding to the charges. The rapporteur chosen, for example, was Senator Antonio Anastasia of the PSDB-MG, a notorious ally of Senator Aecio Neves, one of the leaders of the opposition and defeated candidate in the 2014 elections. The selectivity and partiality of the judgement was laid bare when Senator Randolfe Rodrigues, of the Sustainability Network (Rede) of Amapa, questioned the accuser Janaina Paschoal about the content of the budgetary decrees emitted by Michel Temer, without mentioning that he had signed them as Vice-President, identical to those which were the basis used to accuse Dilma of committing the crime of responsibility. Paschoal, who had affirmed there was no legal basis for any move to impeach the putschist Vice-President, responded to Rodrigues that such decrees were a crime and should be punished with impeachment, to which Randolfe responded: “You have just given the very reasons by which the impeachment of Vice-President Michel Temer should also be proceeded. What I have just described were acts carried out by the Vice-President” (Folha de S. Paulo, 2016), to the embarrassment of Janaina.

In the midst of voting on the report, a new fact emerged: Justice Teori Zavascki of the Federal Supreme Court ruled on an injunction and stripped Eduardo Cunha of his parliamentary mandate and removed him from the Presidency of the Congress on May 5th 2016. This intervention was in response to a motion filed by the Attorney-General Rodrigo Janot in December. The delay seen in this motion of almost six months led to discontent when compa­red with the speed with which the Supreme Court dealt with cases that deeply affected the government, such as defining the impeachment procedure in less than a fortnight, or suspending the nomination of Lula to Chief of Staff in less than two days. Such delay, allowed Cunha to exercise his influence and power to manoeuvre the whole impeachment process in favour of the putschist side led by him and by Michel Temer. According to Janot, in the motion filed, Cunha used his post to obstruct investigations and to intimidate those involved in the process. After his removal, the Presidency of the lower house of Congress was occupied by Waldir Maranhão, from the PP party of Maranhão.

When he took on the Presidency of the Congress, something which sur­prised everyone, Waldir Maranhão annulled all the impeachment sessions in the House, attending to the motion from the Attorney-General of the Republic (AGU). According to the AGU, the parties could not have oriented the caucus Congressmen to vote, and the defence should have spoken last in the session. However, one day later, Waldir did an about turn and the impeachment continued as normal.

In the Senate, the report had been approved on May 6th, and on the 11th the session was opened to approve the opening of the impeachment process against Dilma by 55 votes in favour and 22 against, removing the President from exercising her mandate for up to 180 days. The party lines seen in the lower house was practically repeated: only the Senators for the PT, PCdoB and Rede voted in their blocks against the impeachment. Whereas the one-time allies gave massive support in favour, giving rise to intense negotiation behind the scenes with Temer and his supporters: of the 19 PMDB Senators, 13 voted to remove Dilma. All six from the PP, four from PR, one from PRB, as well as part of the PSD caucuses (three of four) and PDT (two of three) also voted to have Dilma descend the ramp of the Planalto Palace.

With the removal, Dilma made a declaration to the press denouncing the coup d’etat she was undergoing. According to the President:

“Ever since I was elected, part of the opposition who were unable to accept it, have asked for a recount of the votes, have tried to annul the elections and afterwards openly conspired for my impeachment. They have immersed the country in a permanent state of political instability, impairing the recovery of the economy with a single objective: to take by force what they were unable to win at the ballot box. My government has been the target of intense and unceasing sabotage. The obvious objective has been to impede me from governing, and thus to bring about an environment propitious for the coup. When the mandate of an elected President is withdrawn, on the charge of a crime they have not committed, the name given to this in a demo­cratic world is not impeachment, it is a coup.” (Rousseff, 2016)

Dilma was also emphatic in demonstrating the absence of any crime of responsibility and the consequent injustice. In the same speech, the President stressed that she had never been complacent about corrup­tion and that the administrative acts that her opponents used as an excuse to open a process of impeachment followed the rules es­tablished for the drawing up of budgetary supplementation decrees 3.

As a result, on the same day as Vice-President Michel Te­mer announced his Cabinet and took on the interim Presidency. In his team there were only white men, with no women or negroes in Ministerial posts, with cuts in funda­mental areas with the loss of status of Ministry or incorporation into other portfolios such as Culture, Secretariat for Women, Racial Equality, Agricultural Development, Science and Technology, Social Security, among others. Included in those nominated, in betrayal of the programme and the electoral mandate which led Temer to the post of Vice-President were names of the PSDB and DEM parties who had been defeated in 2014 and who had led the coup, as well as many of those subject to investigation in corruption scandals. Nevertheless, Temer took office with the promise to implement the plan of government im­posed by the PMDB, “A Bridge to the Future”, later complemented by the document, “Socetial Crossing”, whose impacts were described and analyzed in chapter 4, without passing scrutiny at the ballot box.

With Temer’s taking over the Presidency, various resistance movements began to put pressure on the putschist government. Sectors linked to culture principally, protested actively against the interim President and his decision to withdraw the status of Ministry from the Cultu­re portfolio. In reaction to this, various occupations spread throughout Brazil, especially in the State offices of the National Arts Foundation (Funar­te), the body responsible for carrying out public policies for the sector. The offices of the National Institute for Histori­cal and Artistic Heritage (Iphan) and of the Ministry of Culture (MinC) itself were occupied. Another grass roots movement that applied intense pressure was the Homeless Worker’s Movement (MTST), which even camped out in front of Michel Temer’s house and demonstrated in front of the Presidency office, both in São Paulo.

The Ministers nominated by Temer were:

Ministry Nominee
Federal Attorney-General Fabiano Medina Osorio
Agriculture Blairo Maggi (PP)
Central Bank Ilan Goldfajn (Banco Itau)
Chief of Staff Eliseu Padilha (PMDB)
Cities Bruno Araujo (PSDB)
Science and Technology and Communications Gilberto Kassab (PSD)
Culture Marcelo Calero (PSDB)
Audit, Transparency and Control Fabiano Silveira
Education Mendonça Filho (DEM)
Defence Raul Jungmann (PPS)
Social and Agricultural Development Osmar Terra (PMDB)
Sport Leonardo Picciani (PMDB)
Finance Henrique Meirelles (PSD)
National Integration Helder Barbalho (PMDB)
Justice and Citizenship Alexandre de Moraes (PSDB)
Environment Sarney Filho (PV)
Mines and Energy Fernando Bezerra Filho (PSB)
Planning Romero Juca (PMDB)
Foreign Relations Jose Serra (PSDB)
Health Ricardo Barros (PP)
Secretariat for Government Geddel Vieira Lima (PMDB)
Secretariat of Institutional Security Sergio Etchegoyen
  (Armed Forces)
Work and Social Security Ronaldo Nogueira (PTB)
Transport Mauricio Quintella (PR)
Tourism Henrique Alves (PMDB)

On May 23rd 2016, conversations were published between Romero Juca of the PMDB for Roraima, one of the main allies of Michel Temer, and the then Minister of Planning and ex-President of Petrobras Transporte S.A (Transpetro) Sergio Machado, recorded by him as part of a plea bargain agreement. The content was explosive and made the coup more obvious still. In the conversations, Juca and Machado referred to the impeachment as necessary to change the government and to halt the bloodletting caused by Operation Lava Jato. According to Machado, “the easiest solution was to place Michel” (Fo­lha de S. Paulo, 2016). Thus, according to what was said in the recordings, Temer would take power in an overall national agreement involving the Supre­me Court to halt everything and to limit its effects. According to Juca, Justices of the Federal Supreme Court had affirmed that as long as Dilma was in government, nothing could be stopped.

The impact of the recordings was huge, but not enough to halt the coup. The recordings, as revealed by the media, had been held by the Federal Attorney-General since March 2016, therefore whilst the impeachment process was already underway. They were made public only after the President had been ousted, because if this had been done before they would clearly have had an impact on the desired outcome. Recordings were also leaked of Renan Calheiros and Jose Sarney, attacking Lava Jato and showing their apprehension on the impact of plea bargain agreements and investigations of the entire political class. However, these leaks only served to show the conspiring and to weaken the interim government. Romero Juca resigned, and another two Ministers fell: Fabiano Silveira, nominated by Temer to the Ministry of Transparency, who appeared in one of the recordings attacking Operation Lava Jato, and Henrique Alves, nominated to the Ministry of Tourism, whose name was involved in accusations of receiving bribes, according to the plea bargain by Sergio Machado.

Whilst the interim government applied its neo-liberal agenda, abolishing rights and liquidating social programmes, as shown in other chapters of this book, the impeachment proceeded in the Senate. In accordance with the procedure defined by the Federal Supreme Court in April 2016, the process should go on with the same rules used in the impeachment of ex-President Fernando Collor de Mello in 1992. Thus, the then Chief Justice of the Federal Supreme Court, Ricardo Lewandowski, chaired the Federal Senate to guide the process. A long phase of witness testimony was begun with accusation and defence. In the midst of this stage, the expert testimony in the Senate was notable exempting Dilma of responsibility in the emission of the budgetary supplementation decrees. According to the testimony:

“From the analysis of the data, the documents and the information relating to the Safra Plan, no deliberate acts were identified of the President of the Republic which had contributed directly or immediately to delays in the payments to take place.” (Federal Senate, 2016)

The farce of the judgement, which should have entailed the right to a full defence, was demonstrated by the complete lack of interest of most of the Senators in hearing the witnesses for the defence, or even in the expert testimony in the Senate. According to the report by Gustavo Maia on the UOL portal, at one point the opposition Senators stopped asking questions of witnesses in order to sped up the process (UOL, 2016b). Witnesses for the defence were called such as the economist Luiz Gonzaga Belluzzo, ex-Minister of Finance Nelson Barbosa, law professors Ricardo Lodi Ribeiro and Geraldo Prado. On the 28th of July, Jose Eduardo Cardozo filed the closing arguments for the defence to the Special Commission for Impeachment to the Senate, which emphasized the legality of the decrees emitted and the lack of participation of Dilma Rousseff in their emission, as the expert testimony had already affirmed to the Senate. However, ignoring the arguments for the defence, the Commission recommended by 14 votes to five, that Dilma be judged. The report was approved in ple­nary, by 59 votes to 21, leading the impeachment to its final phase. There, the legitimately elected President Dilma Rousseff would have the oppor­tunity to defend herself before the 81 Senators.

On August 29th 2016, Dilma appeared before the Senate to make her defence. The President reaffirmed her commitment to Brazilian democracy and to the liberal democratic state of law. Remembering history and the coup attempts against Getulio Vargas, Juscelino Kubitschek and João Goulart, the President said:

“Whenever the interests of sectors of the economic and political elite have been lost at the ballot box and there are no legal reasons for le­gitimate change of power, conspiracies were plotted resulting in a coup d’etat. [… ] Now, once again, when the interests of sectors of the economic and political elite have been hurt at the ballot box, we find we are at the breaking point of democracy”. (Rousseff, 2016b)

The President showed in her speech that the charges made against her were mere excuses to overthrow an elected government and to put in its place a putschist and usurper government, to destroy the gains won by the Brazilian people in the 13 years of governments by the PT. She reaffirmed that the coup was the reaction of the opposition, in an anti-democratic manner, to overturn the elections of 2014:

“Ever since the announcement of the election results, the parties that supported the defeated candidate in the elections did everything to impede my taking office and the stability of my government. They said the elections were fraudulent, seeking an audit of the ballots, they questioned my election accounts, and after my taking office, sought facts by any means that might justify the rhetoric for an impeachment process.” (Rousseff, 2016b)

Dilma also explained the intense sabotage suffered by her government, whose economic agenda against the crisis was dismantled by Eduardo Cunha, putting forward draft laws that would explode pu­blic spending and compromise any attempt to tweak the economy. She also showed that despite the sabotage, the Congress was paralyzed in 2016, impeding the government from implementing any kind of agenda. This showed her cha­racter, of not complying with anything improper of becoming involved in trade-offs to save her own mandate, and working against corruption:

“If I had been complicit with the impropriety and with that which is worst in Brazilian politics, as many now seem to not have the least problem in doing so, I would not be running the risk of being condemned unjustly. Those who are complicit with the immoral and the illegal, do not have the respectability to govern Brazil. Those who act to avoid or postpone judgement of someone who is accused of enrichment at the costs of the Brazilian State and of the people who pay their taxes, will sooner or later end up having to pay the price of lack of commitment to ethical behaviour before society and before history.” (Rousseff, 2016b)

The accusation was therefore weak and motivated by political ends, not legal ones. The decrees had obeyed all the legal rules, abiding by the Constitution and the Budgetary Directives Law. According to the President, the Federal Accounts Court changed their position on the issues after the publishing of the decrees: “The Federal Accounts Court recommended approval of the accounts of all Presidents who had issued decrees identical to those I issued. They never raised any technical problem or made the interpretation they came to have after I signed these acts.” (Rousseff, 2016b).

The disregard for due legal process, the presumption of inno­cence and the right to a defence were covered by Dilma. It was absurd, according to her, that judges affirmed that “the conviction is no more than a question of time”, as their opinions were already formed. Thus, the legal form only served to justify an illegitimate process. After the speech, the President answered questions from the Senators for 13 hours of cross-examination.

The next day, Jose Eduardo Cardozo presented the final defence of the President, questioning the Senators about what history would say about the conviction. Cardozo affirmed that he hoped that in the future a Chief Justice would ask that a public apology be accepted in the name of the Brazilian State for having convicted an innocent woman to the penalty of political death:

“I ask God that, if Dilma is convicted, a new Chief Justice has the dignity to make a public apology to her; if she is alive, to her, and if deceased, to her daughter and grandchildren. That history will absolve Dilma Rousseff if you wish to convict her. But, if you wish to do Justice to those who suffered violence from the State, judge by justice. Do not accept that our country suffers a parliamentary coup, so that Dilma does not suffer the penalty of political death.” (Cardozo, 2016)

On the 31st of August 2016, by 61 votes in favour and 20 against, the Senate definitively removed Dilma Rousseff from the Presidency of the Republic. In a kind of mea-culpa, the Senators did not withdraw Dilma’s political rights, allowing her to continue to hold posts of public office. At 4 p.m. on the same day, Michel Temer was sworn into office as President of Brazil: and the coup d’etat was duly effected. Two days after the impeachment, the Federal Senate approved a law to ease the rules for issuing supplementary credit, freeing the coming Presidents to use the same “fiscal manoeuvres” that led to Dilma being convicted.

  1. It was later proven that Cunha had bank accounts in Switzerland to receive bribe monies.
  2. In 2014, sectors of the PMDB were already defending support for Aécio Neves, as reported by Agencia Brasil, EBC: “Bancada do PMDB esta dividida no apoio a Dilma and Aécio” (Agência Brasil, 2014)
  1. “They accuse me of having issued six supplementation decrees, six supplementary credit decrees and in doing so, of having committed a crime against the Budgetary Law. This is false. It is false, as the decrees complied with authoriza­tions provided for in law. They deal with the crime as an everyday act of management. They accuse me of delaying paymen­ts of the Safra Plan. This is false. I decided nothing in this regard. The law does not require my participation in the execution of this Plan. My accusers have not even been able to say what I have done, what act? What act? Besides this, there was nothing left to be paid, there is no debt. In a democracy, a legitimate mandate of an elected President can never be broken because of legitimate budgetary management acts. Brazil can not be the first to do this” (Rousseff, 2016).
  2. The following Senators voted against the Impeachment: Angela Portela (PT), Armando Monteiro (PTB), Elmano Ferrer (PTB), Fatima Bezerra, Gleisi Hoffmann and Humberto Costa (all three of the PT), João Capiberibe (PSB), Jorge Viana and Jose Pimentel (both of the PT), Katia Abreu (PMDB), Lidice da Mata (PSB), Lindbergh Farias (PT), Otto Alencar (PSD), Paulo Paim and Paulo Rocha (both of the PT), Randolfe Ro­drigues (REDE), Regina Sousa (PT), Roberto Muniz (PP), Roberto Requião (PMDB) and Vanessa Grazziotin (PCdoB).

BIBLIOGRAPHIC REFERENCES

AGAMBEN, Giorgio. Estado de Exceção. São Paulo: Boitempo, 2004.

AGÊNCIA BRASIL. Bancada do PMDB está dividida no apoio a Dil­ma e Aécio. Brasília, October 8 2014. Available at: http://agenciabrasil.ebc.com.br/politica/noticia/2014-10/bancada-do-pmdb-esta-dividida-no-apoio-dilma-e-aecio. Accessed on: 25 Jan 2017.

CARDOZO, José Eduardo. Speech in defence of President Dilma Rousseff to the Federal Senate. Agência Senado. Available at: www12.senado.leg.br/noticias/videos/2016/08/dilma-esta-sendo-julgada-por-ter-vencido-as-eleicoes-afirma-jose-eduardo-cardozo. Accessed on 27 Jan 2017.

FOLHA DE SÃO PAULO. Na “madrugada do impeachment”, Randolfe prega peça em advogada. Folha Poder. Brasília, 29 April 2016. Available at: www1.folha.uol.com.br/poder/2016/04/1766385-na-madrugada-do-impeachment-randolfe-prega-peca-em-advogada.sht-ml. Accessed on: 25 Jan 2017.

FOLHA DE SÃO PAULO, R. Veja trechos da conversa entre Rome­ro Jucá e o ex-presidente da Transpetro Sérgio Machado. Folha Poder. 23 May 2016. Brasília. Available at: www1.folha.uol.com.br/poder/2016/05/1774018-em-dialogos-gravados-juca-fala-em-pacto-para-deter-avanco-da-lava-jato.shtml. Accessed on: 25 Jan 2017.

FUNDAÇÃO PERSEU ABRAMO. Projeto Manifestações março-comparativo – 13 e 18 2015/2016. São Paulo, 2016. Available at: http://novo.fpabramo.org.br/sites/default/files/FPA-Pesquisa-Mani­festacoes-Comparativa-2015-2016-SITE-042016-ok.pdf. Accessed on 27 Jan 2017.

FUNDAÇÃO ULYSSES GUIMARÃES. Uma Ponte Para o Futuro. Brasília, 29 October 2015. Available at: http://pmdb.org.br/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/RELEASE-TEMER_A4-28.10.15-Online.pdf. Accessed on: 25 Jan 2017.

JINKINGS, I., DORIA, K., CLETO, M. (orgs). Cronologia do Gol­pe. In: Por que gritamos Golpe? Para entender o impeachment e a crise política no Brasil. São Paulo: Boitempo, 2016.

O ESTADO DE SÃO PAULO. Em gesto ao PSDB, Temer deixará articulação política. Política. São Paulo, 21 August 2015. Available at: http://politica.estadao.com.br/noticias/geral,temer-quer-deixar-articulacao-politica-mas-vai-aguardar-crise-com-cunha-esfriar,1748612. Accessed on: 25 Jan 2017.

ROUSSEFF, Dilma. Declaração à imprensa da Presidenta da Repú­blica. Portal Planalto. Brasília, 12 May 2016. Available at: http://www2.planalto.gov.br/acompanhe-o-planalto/discursos/discursos-da-presidenta/declaracao-a-imprensa-da-presidenta-da-republica-dilma-rousseff-brasilia-df. Accessed on: 25 Jan 2017.

ROUSSEFF, Dilma. Íntegra do discurso da presidenta Dilma Rous­seff ao Senado Federal. Brasília, 29 August 2016b. Available at: www12.senado.leg.br/noticias/arquivos/2016/08/29/veja-a-integra-do-discurso. Accessed on: 25 Jan 2017.

SENADO FEDERAL. Denúncia por crime de responsabilidade n°1, de 2016 – Laudo Pericial. Available at: www19.senado.gov.br/sdleg-getter/public/getDocument?docverid=282deb55-fa96-4ef-d-a137-ac15f39e9a40;1.0. Accessed on: 25 Jan 2017.

UOL. Áudios mostram que partidos financiaram MBL em atos pró-impeachment. São Paulo, 2016. Available at https://noticias.uol.com.br/politica/ultimas-noticias/2016/05/27/maquina-de-partidos-foi-utilizada-em-atos-pro-impeachment-diz-lider-do-mbl.htm. Accessed on: 25 Jan 2017.

UOL. Com pressa, senadores pró-impeachment “ignoram” testemunhas de defesa. Portal UOL. Brasília, 15 June 2016. Available at: https://noticias.uol.com.br/politica/ultimas-noticias/2016/06/15/senadores-pro-impeachment-ignoram-testemunhas-de-defesa-e-aceleram-processo.htm. Accessed on: 25 Jan 2017.